BUSSEBRIGGE, Robert (d.1416), of Ewhurst and Godalming, Surr.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
s. and h. of John Bussebrigge (d.1405) of Godalming by his w. Rose. m. Alice, at least 1s. 1da.1
Bailiff of the liberty of the bp. of Salisbury in Surr. by 7 May 1400-aft. Nov. 1402.2
Tax collector, Surr. May 1416.
John Bussebrigge, the MP’s father, was a landowner on a fairly modest scale, whose ancestors had for many years been connected with the manor of Drungewick (or Slinfold) in Sussex. John himself served as steward there for the bishop of Chichester, although most of his property lay across the county border in the area around Ewhurst and Godalming, and the few royal commissions which came his way were addressed to him as a resident of Surrey. The Thomas Bussebrigge of Godalming who became vicar of Hambledon in Hampshire in 1391, after graduating from New College, Oxford, may well have been his younger son, for the family had strong connexions with the Church.3 The subject of this biography first appears in March 1384, when, as Robert Bussebrigge of Godalming, he stood surety in Chancery for two local men. He did duty as mainpernor at least three more times over the next two years, and in June 1388 was personally involved in litigation, being named among the plaintiffs in a case of trespass. Shortly afterwards he bound himself jointly with others to pay £20 to a clerk named Geoffrey Martin (probably the then clerk of the Crown), although his reasons for doing so are not recorded. Although nowhere described specifically as a member of the legal profession, there seems little doubt that Bussebrigge was a lawyer. Between the summer of 1388 and December 1405 he was to be found regularly among the attorneys pleading at the Surrey assizes and, less frequently, at Westminster, acting for such influential members of the county community as Sir Thomas Brewes*. He seems to have been engaged only in local cases, the most notable being in 1402, when he represented his own father in a dispute over rent in Ewhurst which eventually formed part of his inheritance.4 At some point before May 1400 Bussebrigge was made bailiff of the bishop of Salisbury’s liberty in Surrey. This appointment may well have resulted from John Bussebrigge’s long-standing association with the see of Chichester, since Richard Metford, the then bishop of Salisbury, had previously been bishop of Chichester.
Comparatively little is known about Bussebrigge’s other activities. He was a feoffee-to-uses of property in Leatherhead, Surrey, his title to which was successfully established in the county court during the Easter term of 1393. At some unrecorded date he became a tenant of the Brocas family in Guildford, but it was not until his father’s death in 1405 that he seems to have owned any property himself. His inheritance produced approximately £7 a year, an income which remained fairly constant until he himself died 11 years later. This last part of his life was marked by his return as a shire knight in 1407 and his attendance at the county elections of 1415. His death occurred on 7 Sept. 1416, only a few months after he had been commissioned for the first time to be a local tax collector.5 His son and heir, Thomas, was then of age, and appears among the witnesses to the returns made for Surrey to the Parliaments of May and December 1421. He was probably also the father of Robert Bussebrigge, a Winchester scholar, about whom no evidence apparently survives after his departure from New College in 1413. The MP’s widow, Alice, subsequently married John Gladewyn, a citizen and draper of London, having retained, as dower, property in Ewhurst and Godalming.6
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Variants: Boschebrugge, Brisbrigge, Brusbrigge.
- 1. C138/19/23; JUST 1/1512, rot. 61, 68v, 69v; Sussex RO, Brand mss (unsorted); CPR, 1361-4, p. 479; CFR, xii. 267; xiii. 19; HMC De L’Isle and Dudley, i. 4.
- 2. E401/619, 621-2, 627.
- 3. D.G.C. Elwes and C.J. Robinson, Castles W. Sussex, 205; Suss. Rec. Soc. xlvi. 259, 265; CPR, 1361-4, p. 479; CFR, ix. 146; x. 218; xii. 19; Biog. Reg. Univ. Oxf. ed. Emden, i. 326; CCR, 1381-5, p. 75.
- 4. CCR, 1381-5, pp. 433, 454; 1385-9, pp. 140, 143, 496, 640; CP25(1)231/65/91; JUST 1/1503 rot. 73v, 74, 74v, 76, 1512 rot. 61, 63v, 64v, 65, 67v, 68v, 69v.
- 5. JUST 1/1503; M. Burrows, Fam. Brocas of Beaurepaire, 435; CFR, xiii. 19; C138/19/23; C219/11/7.
- 6. C138/19/23; C219/12/5, 6; HMC De L’Isle and Dudley, i. 4; Biog. Reg. Univ. Oxf. i. 326. Bussebrigge also had a daughter named Bona, who married Robert Lee: Sussex RO, Brand mss (unsorted).